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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, January 28, 2006

SATURDAY SCOOPS
Four easy steps to a clutter-free kitchen

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By Zenaida Serrano
Advertiser Staff Writer

Professional organizer Kelly Galvin keeps her own kitchen clutter-free. She suggests choosing just one place to hold the paperwork you may like to do in your kitchen.

Photos by RICHARD AMBO | The Honolulu Advertiser

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Countertops: Put out only what you use regularly. Don't use the space for storage.

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Under the sink: Toss old products. Group the others by usage.

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Kitchen implements: Use a crock to organize the cooking utensils you use most often.

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The crowded countertops. The stacks of junk mail and school fliers. The graveyard of appliances. Sound like your kitchen?

Maybe it's time to give it the respect it deserves.

"For most families ... (the kitchen) is the hub of their family life," said Kelly Galvin, a professional organizer and owner of Organized in Paradise. "If you're going to spend that much time in there, you want it to work as efficiently as it possibly can for you."

The good news is that organizing your kitchen can easily be a weekend project. So why not start today? Galvin addresses some of the most common kitchen clutter culprits and offers these tips.

DESIGNATE A PLACE FOR PAPERS

Many families use the kitchen as a type of "family management center," Galvin said. But few truly designate a place to organize all the paperwork, such as bills or the kids' school papers. To manage paperwork, use vertical trays and desktop files or magazine caddies, then assign one tray or file per person, or create two to three general categories, such as "school" or "money management."

DON'T NEGLECT THE AREA UNDER THE SINK

"Just like anywhere else in your house or your kitchen, it needs to be purged every once in a while," Galvin said. Get rid of products you no longer use or that have expired. To organize everything, Galvin suggests using bins: one to store kitchen products, such as dish soap and surface cleaners; another for general household cleaners (a caddy you can carry around as you clean is ideal); and finally, one for miscellaneous items.

GET RID OF THINGS YOU DON'T USE

If you're going to buy new things for your kitchen, toss out the old ones, Galvin said. Also, get the best that you can afford. "I'd rather see people spend money on one really good knife than seven lousy ones or get a good-size cutting board as opposed to a bunch of tiny ones," Galvin said.

DON'T USE COUNTERS FOR STORAGE

"Countertops are such valuable work spaces, so you really have to be thoughtful about which items you keep out," Galvin said. Clear everything off your countertops, then return only items you frequently use, such as the coffee maker or toaster. Cookbook collections and appliances such as mixers or bread makers are items people often keep on their countertops but shouldn't, Galvin said. "If you use it every day, it makes sense to keep it out." Then find a place a closet, drawer or cabinet for everything else.

Reach Zenaida Serrano at zserrano@honoluluadvertiser.com.